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The roots of potatoes, carrots, and turnips are excellent; but we should be hard put to it if we had to eat the flower or the seed, indeed the fruit of the potato is poisonous.
The stalk of wheat, barley, or oats would be a very dry morsel, but this is the eatable part of asparagus, celery, and rhubarb.
The leaves of lettuces and watercresses are eaten raw, while those of spinach and cabbages must be boiled ; and although we do not eat boiled tealeaves, we get from them one of the most pleasant drinks in the world.
We eat the buds of brocoli and cauliflower before the plant comes into flower. From the full-blown flowers of many plants, such as the camomile, we make various kinds of teas, which are used rather for medicine than for food.
The flower most used of all is that of the hop plant, which, as everybody knows, is one of the chief things used in making beer.
Of fruits there are many different sorts eaten in different ways.
Strawberries, raspberries, and currants are eaten whole. Some children eat gooseberries whole, but the skins of gooseberries had better be left for the pigs.
Cherries, plums, peaches, apricots, and nectarines have stones, and I do not suppose that any one would think of swallowing them ; but when they are cracked, the kernels inside them are very useful in giving a pleasant taste to cakes and puddings.
Most people are fond of nuts and walnuts. We crack the shells and throw them away; and we eat the ker
Cocoa-nuts are not so easy to crack. There are spots at one end of each nut, which make it look very like a monkey's face. If you bore a hole through the eyes you will get from it a cupful of sweet milky juice; you may then saw the nut in two, and eat the white kernel.
Every child knows that apples and pears should be eaten when they are ripe; but that curious fruit the medlar
is not eaten until it is rotten. The peel of apples and pears is not very wholesome, though it is often eaten with the fruit; but I never heard of any one eating an unpeeled orange.
There are some kinds of oranges too bitter to eat in their raw state; but these when boiled with sugar are quite a dainty, and then the best part of them is the peel.
The coffee which we drink is made from the berry of the coffee shrub. The berries are roasted and ground, and boiling water is poured upon the powder.
It would take far too long to speak of half the fruits which we commonly meet with, but I must not pass by the grape. It is pleasant to eat ripe grapes in this country ; but this is a very little part of the good we get from them.
Most of our wine is made from grapes grown in foreign countries. Perhaps you may be surprised to hear that the raisins—or, as you call them, “plums”—in a plum pudding are really
PARTS OF PLANTS FOR FOOD.
dried grapes; and that the dried currants used for cakes are no more like the currants in our gardens than the raisins are like plums: they are really small
We now come to the plants of which we eat the seeds, and these are almost as numerous as those of which we eat the fruits. Wheat, barley, rye, oats, and rice, are some of the best known seeds or grains. Of wheat is made bread, the staff of life ; and from barley we get malt, which, with hops, makes beer. Some seeds grow in pods;
and though we shell peas and broad beans, and throw the pods away, the pods of French beans and scarlet runners are the parts which, in this country, we chiefly care to eat.
THE PARTS OF A HOUSE. STONE, BRICKS, AND MORTAR. IF our house is in any part of the country where much stone can be dug out of the ground, it is most likely that the walls will be made of stone; in some parts of the West of England every cottage is built of stone.
In other places the walls are often made of cob; cob is a mixture of clay and chopped straw, and makes a good warm house, but it does not last one quarter so long as the stone walls do.
Bricks, however, much more often used in building houses than stone or any thing else.
Bricks are made of clay tempered with water, and burned or baked in a kiln, which is a sort of large oven,